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Issue Home October 22, 2002 Site Home

Along The Way... With P. Jay
Slices Of Life
100 Years Ago
Straight From Starrucca

Along The Way... With P. Jay

Ballot Question Deserves Your Vote

There is another reason besides the governor’s race that should make you want to vote this year –a mighty important ballot question.

The referendum question on the ballot reads as follows: "Do you favor the incurring of indebtedness of up to $100 million for the purpose of establishing a program that utilizes capital and other related methods to enhance and improve the delivery of volunteer fire and volunteer emergency services in the Commonwealth as hereinafter authorized by the statute?"

Frankly, I cannot see how anyone can vote against this question. My friends, you can search the universe and you will not find another human being who does more, not only for his community, but also for mankind in general, than the volunteer fireman and the emergency medical volunteer.

Perhaps this is why I was a little upset with a letter on the subject that Senator Charles D. Lemmond Jr. mailed to his constituents. Of course, I really should not be upset about it because at least Senator Lemmond had the foresight to advise his people that it is an important referendum. This is more than I can say about the many, many other area office holders whom we often see at firemen’s parades, riding in chauffeur-driven convertibles and waving to the voters. However, Senator Lemmond did not have enough chutzpah to urge his people to vote yes perhaps on the chance that some of his supporters just might be against the referendum.

And what about the referendum?

Well, it is a non-binding referendum. This means that even if the referendum is approved on Nov. 5, the House and Senate in Harrisburg are not compelled to act on it. It would still require enabling legislation to make money available to the 2,400 volunteer fire companies and emergency services in the state for needed improvements. And would the money be in the form of loans or grants? That question will not get an answer until the required enabling legislation is passed. Tom Savage, executive director of Pennsylvania Fire & Emergency Services, said overwhelming support of the referendum would send a message to Harrisburg that the people expect the Commonwealth to take care of the volunteer fire companies who, in turn, take care of the people.

Most volunteer fire companies are short handed. That’s because, in the past 20 years, the number of volunteer firemen has shrunk from 300,000 to 70,000. Why? In some instances, the requirements for becoming a volunteer have been raised, particularly in the areas of physical condition and health Then, after he or she is accepted, there are more training events, mock drills, seminars, fund raisers, clean-up sessions and a host of other chores and duties that keep the volunteer on the go many, many nights and weekends. And, there is a new threat –terrorism.

On top of all that, many volunteer fire companies are struggling with inadequate equipment including fire fighting apparatus. And through it all, my friends, it has been estimated that volunteer fire companies save the people of this Commonwealth about $6 billion a year.

When you awaken on the morning of Nov. 5 and you are unsure of whether you want to journey to the polls, think about this. What would happen if your house caught fire in the wee hours of a cold and snowy winter morning and the volunteer firemen ignored the alarm, rolled over and went back to sleep.

Congratulations to…

Candice Tunilo of Auburn Center and Patrick Michael Daly of Montrose, who are Susquehanna County’s newest attorneys.

Miss Tunilo is a 1995 graduate of Montrose High School and was graduated cum laude from King’s College in Wilkes-Barre in 1999 with a degree in criminal justice. She then attended The Dickinson School of Law at The Pennsylvania State University from where she was graduated in June with a law degree. Miss Tunilo, who is currently employed as law clerk to Judge John C. Mott in Bradford County, said she plans on remaining in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Mr. Daly graduated from Montrose High School in 1990 and receive a Bachelor’s degree in political science from Boston University in 1994. After a four-year hitch in the Navy, he attended Northeastern University in Boston where he received his law degree in 2001. Mr. Daly is law clerk to Susquehanna County President Judge Kenneth W. Seamans.

The Susquehanna County Jail, often referred to here as The Hotel Brennan (Bill Brennan is the jail warden) is getting crowded.

Innkeeper Brennan told me late last week that he has 88 "guests" in the facility, which is designed to accommodate 100. Two or three weeks ago, the jail housed a record high 91 prisoners. There are only 23 guards at the jail, three of them part time, and Bill is looking to hire two more part timers, one male and one female.

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Slices of Life


Today my printer ran out of ink. It was no big surprise because I could see the type gradually getting lighter. But I was not too concerned because I knew I had bought both black and colored ink cartridges some time ago, and they were tucked away in a drawer for just this occasion. Of course this happened when I was on a deadline, and while it was an inconvenience, it was not disastrous. Wrong! When I opened the drawer, there was a colored cartridge all right, but no black. When did I use that? I simply could not remember changing one and not the other. None-the-less, I knew I was roughly forty-five minutes away from a cartridge and I couldn’t spare the time.

The ironic part of this story is that I had just made that trip to the Vestal Parkway to get bedding that I could get nowhere in town. Without too much encouragement, I could have begun my monologue, heard only by Mrs. Morris, about the inconveniences of living in Montrose. But then, I remembered some other things.

I thought about what an enjoyable and stimulating weekend we had just had with the Harvest Festival and the Artists’ Tour. I am always greatly impressed by the creative people who live in this area. Artistry in many forms abounds. While singling out one person is always dangerous, I still must tell you this. Because I am intrigued by gardening, which I do poorly, and by drying wild flowers for arrangements, where I am an eager student but not proficient yet, I love going to Judy Bayer’s home. She does both with great skill, as well as painting, framing, and all the rest. And she shows her creations with such modesty.

How fortunate we are to have had that great string band playing on the Green at the Harvest Festival. After listening to them for awhile, I was ready to run out and buy a banjo. That was definitely not the country music I heard on Saturday night radio from Wheeling, West Virginia when I was a young teenager, bored to death and looking for any entertainment.

As I was dreading my trip to Vestal, I brought to mind the Blueberry and Apple Festivals, the Christmas Boutique and the Writers’ Conference at the Bible Conference, the Christmas Department Store at the Methodist Church, the several new shops on and near South Main Street, the flourishing library with its many programs, the clean, well-maintained theater; not to mention the several choices in restaurants. And where else would you find a swing band like Bud Wilcox heads up, ready to entertain for free?

I thought about the friendliness and kindness of my neighbors. I remembered the personal care and life-saving skill of the local hospital. All in all, I decided we have many good things going on in this town, and it’s a great place to live. However that does not solve the problem of the print cartridge or the many other necessities that aren’t available here any more. I know we are not likely to ever have the Norman Rockwell downtown that I first knew when I moved here, where the town bustled on Friday nights as patrons moved from hardware store to the five and ten; from the grocery store on the corner to the Department Store. Ice cream, candy, hamburgers, shoe repairs – all found in different shops. It was small town America at its best. But knowing we can’t have that, please bring us a department store to augment what we do have. Or make me better organized. Either will do.

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100 Years Ago – 1902-2002

HARFORD: On the Indian Territory, Oct. 10th, occurred the death of Ed. Tanner, a former Harford boy. He was a nephew of J.C. Tanner. The remains were taken to the home of his mother, at Coffeeville, Kansas, for burial.

SUSQUEHANNA: The Susquehanna football team speak in high terms of praise of their treatment while at Montrose on Monday; but the score-oh me, oh my! [28-0] AND: Thomas Sheridan, a 16 year old son of Mr. and Mrs. James Sheridan, while hunting late yesterday afternoon, received injuries from the accidental discharge of a shot gun which proved fatal to-day. The young man was hunting in the woods near here and while standing on a large rock, with the butt of the gun resting on the ground, he fell and the gun was discharged, the shot entering his side. He was brought home in a neighboring farmer's buggy and medical assistance was summoned.

HOP BOTTOM: Three Foster [Hop Bottom] young men, R.S. Strickland, Thomas Drake and William Haggley, aged about 18 years, registered at the Grand Central annex, Scranton, last Saturday and when retiring for the night young Strickland drew a revolver from his pocket and looked down the barrel, when it accidentally discharged. The bullet, which was of 32-calibre, entered at the right side of the upper jaw, knocking out three teeth and badly splintering the jawbone. The bullet could not be found and it is thought he probably spat it out. He will undoubtedly recover. Each of the trio was armed with a revolver.

GIBSON: Archie Smith, clad in white duck trousers and raglan, filled the position as drum major, with the Gibson band, yesterday. He did it up very creditably.

TRIPP LAKE [Liberty Twp.]: Alva Madison left his home last Monday. Any information concerning him would be gladly received as the last seen of him he was going west with his skates under his arm.

FOREST CITY: Robert H. Dunn was almost instantly killed at the No. 2 breaker of the Hillside Coal and Iron company last Friday morning. He was employed at the foot of the breaker plane, and reaching down to uncouple two cars was caught between the frames and squeezed to death. Mr. Dunn had charge of the prop yard and had worked at the plane for only a few days. He was 65 years old and one of Forest City's most prominent citizens. He was a member of the Episcopal church. Deceased is survived by his wife, one son, George S, of Jermyn, and two daughters, Miss Eunice of Forest City and Mrs. E.B. Goodrich, of Alford. Interment was made near his old home at Ararat.

BIRCHARDVILLE: A pleasant evening was spent at Jesse Edwards' last week, when the light fantastic toe was tripped. Messrs. Horton and Kane furnished music.

SPRINGVILLE: Old Folks Services were well attended at the Methodist church last Sunday morning. The church was beautifully decorated with autumn leaves and flowers. Two of the venerable members took part. Mr. Kasson, of Kasson Corners, gave an appropriate recitation and Henry Spencer, of Lynn, gave some interesting reminiscences of old time meetings and ministers. The members of the Epworth League had prepared a lot of bouquets, which were distributed and made a happy closing to this interesting service. Flynn [Middletown Twp.]- The funeral of L. Curley was largely attended: 115 carriages.

KINGSLEY: Kingsley has, in a few years, become one of the most important shipping points on the D.L.& W. road between Binghamton and Scranton. One item alone in the shipping business at this station is worthy of note. The Harford Creamery company this year, from present indications, will send out $100,000 worth of dairy products. W.W. Adams is agent at this place. An important industry in the little town is the manufacture and sale of mill feeds. This business is assuming vast proportions and is conducted by the Stearns Brothers and W.W. Sloat.

LAWTON: A number of the boys called on John Potts one evening last week and husked three acres of corn and after a fine supper returned to their homes in the wee hours of the morning, feeling fine.

BRUSHVILLE: The reunion in Susquehanna of four brothers of the Brush family, after a separation of nearly half a century, is worthy of note. We have yet to find an inferior Brush in the whole outfit of Brushes whom we have met, but the four Brushes in question-D.A., of California; Edwin, of this place; E.J. of Port Jervis, and A.A., of Titusville, are genial, whole-souled gentlemen, who make the world better for having lived. They are here to-day, negotiating with "Dick", for special rates for board in the event of his election as sheriff of Susquehanna county.

MONTROSE: E.H. True lights his store by means of a private acetylene gas plant. It is one of the best-lighted business places in town. AND: The telephone line on the Montrose branch is completed and in operation between Tunkhannock and Lake Carey. It will be pushed through to Montrose as rapidly as possible. There will be five or six instruments put in at stations along the line, and an emergency phone installed in the baggage car on the train. In case of breakdown or other occurrence requiring communication with the terminal office, this instrument will be connected with the wires at any place the train happens to stop.

LATHROP: A very pretty wedding occurred at the home of Mr. and Mrs. C.J. Rockwell, Oct. 15. As the hands of the clock pointed at the hour of 12 the Mendelssohn Wedding March was rendered by Miss Lena Johnson. The bridal party consisted of Miss Maude May Rockwell and Mr. Fay A. Brotzman; Miss Pearl Mackey, acting as bridesmaid and Forest Brotzman, brother of the groom, as best man. The bride was attired in Turquoise Blue Crape de-Chine trimmed in white silk and lace. The bridesmaid was attired in white; the groom and best man wore the conventional black. After a bountiful dinner was served the bride and groom departed amid a shower of old shoes and rice. The presents were numerous and valuable, consisting of money, silver, glass and chinaware, an elegant dinner set and a beautiful oak rocker.

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BAND AND LEGIONNAIRES Entertain Veterans: American Legion Post 86, along with the "Select Band" of the Community High School, on October 10, dined and entertained handicapped veterans from the Wilkes-Barre Veterans Hospital Medical Center. "It was a great afternoon," remarked Legion Chairman Tom Hurley, as the high school girls played several patriotic songs, much to the delight of the vets.

Along with the music the vets – after partaking of a delicious meal of pizza, wings, beef stew, halupkis and mouthwatering sweets – were given gifts donated by the Legion’s three units – Legionnaires, Auxiliary and SAL.

Veterans and their companions were: veterans – Mike Grove, age 89; Joe Kmetz, 84; Amandus Schaffer, 85; Henry Harter, 90; Joe Szczpanski, 84; Ken Christman, 65; Walter Howet, 78; Jim Walikis, 58 and Michael Pandish, 68; companions, Ann Kmetz, Marian Kunigonis, Chester Kunigonis, Elizabeth Pengelly, Paul Makuch, Joe Wilczewski, Joe Yastremski, Bill Baggs, Joyce Emel and Celestine Susko, CTRS.

Members of the band: Amanda Rockwell, Jessica Williams, Melissa Leet, Claressa Price, Patricia Albrecht, Heather Warneke, Amanda Russell, Amanda Fallon, Katie McHale, Shannon Williams, Rhonda Scott and band director, Maria Creasy.

The veterans also received photos of the murals on the walls depicting sketches of wars the United States was involved in; the high school girls handed out handsome patriotic buttons; chief cooks, Mike Vaccaro and Tom Hurley were aided in helping to feed the vets by Mary Ficarro, Tony Napolitano, Ceil Vaccaro, John Bronchella; Sons of the American Legion ushered the vets "in and out."

SCRANTON DOCTORS Protest: Physicians at Community Medical Trauma Center threaten to leave at the end of the month unless the hospital or the state intervenes to ease crippling malpractice insurance premiums, which will more than double next year. Just think, all that money it costs to send space ships to the moon, all that money it will cost us if we go to war. Just think what "we" could do with all those billions of dollars. Put those dollars towards health benefits, not just for the senior citizens, but also for families that cannot afford health insurance – help families with low incomes. Keep Social Security solvent. We need all of our doctors. Something must be done about the cost of malpractice insurance. We already lost one doctor, who will be next? The state must be aware of the situation. Why aren’t they doing something about it?

LEGION TEAM UPSET: The Legion bowling team of the Monday night John Baumann League – according to an "informant" with the initials B. P. – were really upset during their match of Monday, October 7, when one Jesse Gow, reported to the Riverside Lanes to bowl for Lou Parrillo (a member of the team) who was unavailable. According to B. P., the other four members of the team – Scott Darling, Roger Williams, Britt Cresse and Jim Ruffin – were highly dissatisfied with Gow’s performance (score not available). As soon as Gow showed to bowl, his teammates checking his equipment (a ball over 15 years old, a bag, clearly "out-of-style"), chanted, "Where’s Lou, where’s Lou!" To top it all off, my four Legionnaire teammates sent me a registered letter; "If you get that guy (Jesse Gow) to sub again, we will all quit." There it is, Jesse; no doubt, B. P. put my teammates up to it. Anyway, Jesse, you can put your ball and shoes and bowling ball back in the closet, for you have bowled your last match with the Legion team.

WHERE WERE YOU on December 7, 1941 (would like to hear from you): I know where I was. I was going back to my job in Harrisburg, with my car radio on, and heard the disturbing (to say the least) news. Soon after that – February 24, 1942 to be exact – I, along with several other Susquehanna "candidates" were drafted into the United States Armed Forces.

At 7:55 a.m., on Sunday, December 7, 1941, the first bombs fell on the unsuspecting US Pacific Fleet, moored at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. By the time the war ended – 45 months later – Japan (once the dominant power in the Pacific) lay ruined, being destroyed by the United States’ powerful military and the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ordered by President (Give ‘em Hell) Harry Truman.

IN A CITY PAPER: Read the following in a city paper (two legislators discussing current bills). One said, "Unfortunately, those of us in the Pennsylvania Legislature who are concerned about the malpractice insurance crisis feel that we aren’t likely to pass any timely reforms..." The second responded, "Unless they’re attached to bills that increase our salaries and pensions..." (Have you heard any truer words spoken?)

A STAGGERING AMOUNT: Congressional budget experts say a war with Iraq would cost at least $9 billion a month! Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld continues to press for war, citing that Iraq has already fired on US planes. (Hope he’s in the front lines during the initial assault.)

DID YOU KNOW? Facts about Pennsylvania: 46,063 square miles; Population – 12,002,000; Motto – Virtue, Liberty, Independence; Capital – Harrisburg; State Flower – Mountain Laurel; State Bird – Ruffed Grouse; Nickname – Keystone State.

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Straight From Starrucca

I want to thank the reader from Hallstead who sent me a letter correcting an item I had in recently about my friends, who had visited a honky-tonk piano player in Virginia City, Utah, and knew where Starrucca was. My error was that I had called her "Screech," due to my hearing loss; I said that rather than "Squeak" Steele, which is the name she goes by. The Hallstead reader says she has four of her cassettes and plays them several times a week. On the card she sent with her letter, shows a lovely lady at the piano, and states she is in the Guinness Book of World Records; she is the record holder for most songs performed by memory on the piano.

What a great joy has been delivered to Donald and Kristin Potter in the form of a tiny daughter, born last Friday, the 11th of October, at Barnes-Kasson, weighing in at six pounds. The precious bundle has been named Rhianon and mom says she is a good baby. May she thrive and bring you both much happiness.

At the same day, Kristin’s father, Gary Williams was in the same hospital, taking blood transfusions to replace that lost through radiation. Our prayers are with you and your family, Gary.

Wendell Swartz attended the wedding of his granddaughter in Rochester, NY a week ago last Saturday, stayed overnight and came home Sunday. The new bride is the daughter of Sheila Swartz Sullivan and husband.

My last 1500 vignette will be a horror story appropriate for Halloween.

Barb Glover and daughter, Michelle had a great day shopping in Scranton, last Tuesday.

Kirk and Alice Rhone made a weekend visit to friends, Dave and Norma Glover in Binghamton, a week ago.

Sue Lynch, Sayre, PA was here last weekend with the sad duty of going through her mother’s effects (Geneva Rhone), and stayed at the home of Kirk and Alice.

Staying at Nethercott Inn last Saturday and Sunday a week ago were Mr. and Mrs. Radel from Lincoln, Nebraska with their eleven children, and another expected, to visit daughter and sister, who had become a nun and was staying at the Priory of the Lady of Ephesus. They loved the country.

Last Monday I went on a bus trip with some friends to the "Sight and Sound" theater in Lancaster to see "Daniel." It is a production of great magnitude in stage settings, costumes and portrayal of Daniel’s dreams and visions – a must see if possible.


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